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Easy-Peasy Avocado Bowl

20 Feb

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Well?

16 Feb

I had a smoothie this morning:

Coconut water
Spinach
2 scoops chocolate Vega powder
Dab of almond milk
Chocolate hemp milk
Almond butter.
Ice

Scrumpdillyicious

I am not stopping. You can’t make me… 😀

Clean Start 2012 round two.
Monday?

Recap of Clean Start 2012 Part I

13 Feb

As we wrap up our first series of Clean Start 2012 I can honestly say the following things have occurred:

1.  I have eaten things I never even heard of:  Star Fruit, Tatsoi.

2.  I learned how to use my juicer.

3.  I bought a food processor and used it.

4. I COOKED!

5.  I ate more fruit in 21 days than I had in 43 years.  This is not a lie.

6.  I pretty much ate spinach every day.

7.  I felt better.

8.  I started a new exercise program – CrossFit.

9.  With the exception of dinners out, I didn’t eat much if any processed food.

10.  I became a member of a CSA to get organic veggies every two weeks

11.  I am madly, truly, deeply in love with parsnips, spaghetti squash and ginger root.  Not together!

12.  Bean is sitting here sniffing with allergies….I am not.  Hmmm.  The raw honey?  The gluten free diet? Non-processed food?

I think that’s probably enough to make me realize that even if I didn’t function perfectly on this plan, that I did one heck of a job for me.  I have never had fruit every day.  I have rarely had veggies every day.  Now I have organic baby spinach in my daily smoothie.  There have been so many profound effects on my daily diet.   I like the way this feels.  On the TMI front, my digestion has improved, I don’t feel as inflammed and I feel much better and stronger all the way around.

I used to come home at night and eat my face off.  Right before bed.  It was a habit.  I never do that now.  Mostly I don’t like to eat after 6 regardless of the day.  The only reason really, is when we go out to dinner for socialization purposes.  But you have seen that post from Suz.  Goes for me too.  Food, Friends, Entertainment.

This Program, even in my tweaking paleo in it, has opened up a whole new world for me.  Great new habits and I am now open to trying new things.  And as I just said to Suz, “What a great gift we gave ourselves.”

Tomorrow will be Suz’s Star Fruit Smoothie and I will continue to eat REAL FOOD.

So, who is up for Clean Start 2012 Round II?

Ambivalent

13 Feb

That’s the best word for the last few days.  I’ve been kinda good, kinda not.   The lifestyle changes are definitely taking hold.  I did well most of the weekend.  I got my booty kicked on Friday at CrossFit, followed by a 55 mile bike ride on Saturday which had my back less than happy.  “Cheat” meal is usually after our bike ride and this was no exception.  I ordered a margarita as much for pain relief as scrumptiousness.  Really.  My friend and cycling bud, Kat upped the ante and ordered a pitcher.  Yeah.  Needless to say there was a long tequila induced nap afterward.  Write Saturday off as BFF dinner at the Columbia in Ybor meant cuban bread and Sangria.   AA here I come.  Today I was back on track with the exception of two oreo truffles that I was making for valentine’s gifts….

 

Big Food

10 Feb

I lived off the land a bit yesterday since we had a really big dinner for IronDude’s birthday, complete with dessert.  Yeah, I know.  I went to CrossFit this morning and totally had my butt kicked.  This stuff amazes me.  Fast Forward to 7:30 am and I would eat Buddy Love if he would stand still.  So this morning I am having leftover Chocolate Chili (courtesy of Well Fed cookbook) over some spaghetti squash.  I will have my smoothie in the afternoon with the star fruit that Suz so kindly brought me.  Can’t wait to try that one!

This is a paleo lifestyle book

Well Fed

Melissa Joulwan, D…

Best Price $29.95
or Buy New $29.95

Is Honey Good for You? | Mark’s Daily Apple

8 Feb

Suz’s post had me thinking about honey.  Ask and ye shall receive: This appeared in my inbox this morning.  I have been sweetening my coffee (I need coffee for my 4:30am CrossFit wake up calls) with a dab of honey.  Nothing like I used to do with the Agave Nectar in the morning, but I thought perhaps the honey would be better from the same standpoint as Suzanne thought – allergies.  Real, raw, local honey.  If you can’t find it, I will be happy to pick you up some.  There’s three different places on my way to Land O Lakes that have it…

This is pulled from Mark Sisson of Mark’s Daily Apple Paleo Lifestyle Guru.

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/is-honey-a-safer-sweetener/

Is Honey a Safe(r) Sweetener?

honey 1I pride myself on making the Primal Blueprint an easy lifestyle to follow. If you were just starting out, you could easily read a few articles, do a couple hours of research, and start making positive changes to your diet, exercise routine, sleep schedule, or daily life immediately. You could ditch grains or replace some chronic cardio with weights or switch to grass-fed meat, and even if you did nothing else, you’d have made a significant improvement to your life and eventually your health. I often receive thank you emails for putting together a program that Internet-illiterate grandmas and grandpas can get into and actually understand. That said, sometimes things get a little confusing.

Like with honey.

See, as a general rule, I am against the consumption of refined sugars, especially sucrose and high fructose corn syrup. To understand why – if you’re still wondering – check out my definitive post on the subject. But what about the preeminent unrefined natural sweetener – the rich amber nectar that’s been available to humans from the very start (albeit protected by barbed, flying suicide stingers)? How are we to approach honey? Because while refined sugar and particularly fructose are to be avoided, alone those are refined, manmade, processed “foods.” White sugar is just sucrose, which is just fructose and glucose. High-fructose corn syrup is just fructose and glucose. Isolated fructose is just fructose. Those aren’t even foods, though they can be eaten; they’re just disaccharides and monosaccharides, with zero minerals, vitamins, phytonutrients, flavonoids, and other micronutrients.

Honey, on the other hand, contains over a hundred different compounds, not just fructose and glucose. It has a small amount of minerals, amino acids, and vitamins, but the point is that it’s not just sugar. Entire colonies of honey bees thrive on the stuff. It’s food by any definition. And whole foods are different than refined foods, and especially refined food-like products. They have different effects when you eat them. Eating an almond is not the same as taking a shot of rancid seed oil. Eating a handful of berries isn’t the same as sprinkling an equal amount of berry-extracted sugar in your water and drinking it.

The question, then, is whether or not this holds true for honey. Is honey “better” than sugar or HFCS? Are some of the harmful effects of the sugar contained therein mitigated by the presence of bioactive compounds? Let’s take a look.

(Speaking of which, I won’t get into the individual compounds found in honey, because each batch of honey is unique. Besides the whole vomiting thing, honey bees don’t really have strict manufacturing standards, and which bioactive compounds end up in the honey depends on the variety of flowers visited by the bees, as well as the season. I might refer to different honey varietals, like buckwheat or wild flower, but keep in mind that buckwheat from area to area and even harvest to harvest will have different pollen concentrations, giving the honey different qualities.)

Humans have certainly been figuring out ways to get their mitts on the sticky mess for as long as we’ve realized it tasted good: a 6,000 year-old cave painting from Spain even depicts a honey hunter climbing a ladder, stick in hand and satchel at its side, gathering honey as bees swarm. Modern day people, like the San bushmen and the Ache of Paraguay, are honey hunters, with the Ache getting upwards of 10% of their calories from wild honey (and the larvae found in the honeycombs). For a visceral idea of the great lengths some people go to for honey, check out this incredible video of a tribesman from the Congo scaling a 40 meter tree to get at the hive. That’s dedication. After that climb, I imagine his muscle and liver glycogen stores were rather depleted and the honey was a welcome fuel source.

Studies on honey paint a pretty favorable picture, actually, especially when it’s compared to table sugar or other more refined sweeteners. Let’s dig in to a few, shall we?

In one study (PDF), researchers compared the effects of honey and refined fructose feeding on rats. Using equal amounts of fructose – just different sources – the authors explored the effects on several health markers. Feeding fructose raised triglycerides more than feeding honey. Feeding fructose decreased blood levels of vitamin E, while honey did not, suggesting less oxidative stress. Feeding fructose also promoted more inflammation than honey. All in all, honey did well for itself.

Another set of studies compared the effects of honey, sham-honey (a mix of fructose and glucose), dextrose (which is just glucose), and sucrose on several health markers in various groups of people. There’s a lot to wade through, but the gist is that honey performed well. Honey resulted in smaller blood glucose spikes (+14%) than dextrose (+53%). Sham honey increased triglycerides, while real honey lowered them (along with boosting HDL and lowering LDL). After fifteen days of honey feeding, CRP and LDL dropped. Overall, honey improved blood lipids, lowered inflammatory markers, and had minimal effect on blood glucose levels.

In rats, honey produced lower triglycerides, less body fat, and greater satiety (as indicated by the spontaneous reduction in food intake) when compared to sucrose.

Looks like wildflower honey might go well in a meat marinade, too: wildflower honey inhibited lipid oxidation in ready to eat beef patties. I’m not sure what a ready to eat beef patty is, and I don’t think I want to know, but the honey info is good to have. Wildflower honey, which comes from bees dining on a wide variety of wild plant life, outperformed clover honey in the study.

Although discerning the full effects of individual honey-based compounds is many research years out, it looks like honey with lower levels of bioactive compounds acts more like regular sugar while honey with higher levels of compounds acts more like a whole food. In one study (PDF), buckwheat honey was found to be the richest in phenolics and flavonoids, while rapeseed (yes, canola) honey was found to have the lowest number of compounds. The researchers didn’t explore the metabolic effects of the two honeys, but another study did find that people who ate rapeseed honey, but not acacia honey, displayed highly elevated levels of serum fructose. The same thing happens when you eat HFCS. That tells me the bioactive compounds are probably responsible for the “benefits” of honey.

Darker honeys are typically higher in bioactive compounds and show greater antioxidant activity. They also taste better, if you ask me. Buckwheat is a personal favorite of mine and ranks quite highly in antioxidants, even showing some beneficial effects on serum antioxidant status in those who consume itWhen in doubt, choose the darker honey.

Now, I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, so I don’t go out of my way to dip my paws in a jar labeled “Hunny,” but I keep some raw buckwheat honey around. The last pound I bought has lasted me well over six months, and there’s still plenty left in the bottle. And in the past, it has certainly proven useful. Can you eat it? Sure; you can do just about anything you want. Should you eat it? That depends. Are you active and in need of liver glycogen repletion like the guy who climbed the Congolese tree? Then raw honey might be a nice choice for a treat. It’s clearly superior to refined sugar, and the extent of the damage we normally see from sugar intake doesn’t seem to occur with honey.

The Perfect Smoothie Formula

7 Feb

 

I am completely in agreement with Suz about keeping the smoothie in the mornings well after our Clean Start is “over”.  Which btw, I will sign up for another if y’all are up for it!  I get more nutrients in the morning smoothie than I probably did all day previously.  I ran across this months ago, and thought about it yesterday.  This is a great way to concoct something new, courtesy of Matt Frazier from No Meat Athlete.  If you are doing the paleo gig, some of this won’t work for you, but if you are doing the paleo gig, you already know how to tweak.  Just throw some bacon in it.  Kidding!!!!   Enjoy!

The Perfect Smoothie Formula

“Give a man a smoothie recipe and he’ll be healthy for a week, teach a man the Perfect Smoothie Formula and he’ll be healthy for a lifetime.” – Me

The way I see it, you only need to eat healthy twice during the day.  While you’ll certainly eat more than twice a day, just two healthy meals make it pretty hard to screw up the rest of them.iStock 000003942941XSmallOnce is in the afternoon, when a big salad loaded with greens, other raw vegetables, and nuts will fill you up and give you more veggies than most people eat all day.  And as a bonus, it’ll give you the chance to get even more good stuff, when you dress it with quality oil, lemon juice, and a little sea salt.

The other time is in the morning, when a smoothie made from fruits (and even vegetables) will not only set the tone for the entire day, but act as a vehicle for other superfoods or supplements you want to work into your diet.

That’s it. Just two healthy meals.

Even if you ate whatever you wanted the rest of the day, I’d be willing to bet you wouldn’t get fat, as long as you made sure to drink a smoothie and eat a big salad every single day.

Sure, if you were to eat at McDonald’s for lunch and Outback for dinner the rest of the time, you could probably succeed at packing on a few pounds.  But here’s the thing.

The smoothie and salad act as “anchors” that keep you on track, to remind you just how great it feels to put real, fresh fruits and vegetables in your body.  After you start the day with a smoothie, McDonald’s for lunch doesn’t seem so good anymore.  And when it’s time to start thinking about dinner, the salad does the same.

In this way, those two healthy meals become three or four—which doesn’t leave much time for junk.

Why people suck at making smoothies

Most people are alright when it comes to the salad.  But there’s something about the alchemy of throwing a few fruits, ice, liquid, and whatever else into a blender and ending up with a perfectly smooth and delicious drink that causes lots of people to struggle.

Since nearly everyone has a blender, I suspect that the reason most people don’t make smoothies consistently is that it’s overwhelming.  There are too many possible ingredients, and too many variables to tweak to get the proportions just right. And if someone should stumble upon a good recipe, they end up making it so often that they get sick of it and never drink it again.

We need a formula

Over the past few years, I’ve had a smoothie almost every single day.  I’ve constantly tweaked it, experimented with new ingredients, and kept track of what worked and what didn’t.

What follows is my version of the smoothie genome project.  It’s a formula you can follow to create nearly endless variations.  And the best part is that the uncertainty has been taken out of it for you.  You’ll need to experiment with different flavor combinations, of course, but the guesswork about proportions has largely been removed.

The recipe below specifies general amounts and types of ingredients (like “2 tablespoons binder”) and then below, you are given a menu of several recommended ingredients of each type from which to choose to make your smoothie.

The Perfect Smoothie Formula

(makes 2 smoothies)

  • 1 soft fruit
  • 2 small handfuls frozen or fresh fruit
  • 2-4 tablespoons protein powder
  • 2 tablespoons binder
  • 1.5 tablespoons oil
  • 1.5 cups liquid
  • 1 tablespoon sweetener (optional, less or more as needed)
  • optional superfoods, greens, and other ingredients
  • 6 ice cubes (omit if soft fruit is frozen)

Select one or more ingredients of each type below and add to blender in specified proportions. Blend until smooth.

Recommended Soft Fruits

  • Banana
  • Avocado

(If you have a high-speed blender that can puree, say, a whole apple or carrot without leaving any chunks behind, then the puree of almost any fruit or vegetable can act as your soft fruit.)

Recommended Frozen or Fresh Fruits

  • Strawberries (you can leave the greens on if you have a powerful blender)
  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries
  • Raspberries
  • Peaches
  • Mango
  • Pineapple

Recommended Protein Powders

  • Hemp
  • Sprouted brown rice (tastes chalkier than hemp, but packs more protein per dollar)
  • Pea

(Soy and whey are higher-protein, generally cheaper options, but for a variety of reasons I don’t recommend either for long-term use.)

Recommended Binders

  • Ground flaxseed
  • Almond butter or any nut butter
  • Soaked raw almonds (soak for several hours and rinse before using)
  • Rolled oats, whole or ground
  • Udo’s Wholesome Fast Food

Recommended Oils

  • Flaxseed oil
  • Udo’s Blend or other EFA blend
  • Hemp oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Almond, macadamia, or other nut oil

Recommended Liquids (unsweetened)

  • Water (my favorite)
  • Almond milk or other nut milk
  • Hemp milk
  • Brewed tea

Recommended Sweeteners

  • Honey (not technically vegan)
  • Agave nectar (high in fructose, so choose this only before workouts)
  • Stevia (sugar-free natural sweetener, the amount needed will vary by brand)

Optional Superfoods, Greens and Other Ingredients

  • Cacao nibs (1-2 tablespoons)
  • Carob chips (1-2 tablespoons)
  • Ground organic cinnamon (1-2 teaspoons)
  • Chia seeds, whole or ground (1-2 tablespoons)
  • Greens powder (1-2 teaspoons)
  • Whole spinach leaves (1-2 handfuls)
  • Maca powder (1-2 teaspoons)
  • Jalapeno pepper, seeds and stem removed (one small pepper)
  • Ground cayenne pepper (small pinch)
  • Sea salt (pinch)
  • Lemon or lime juice (1 tablespoon)

There’s plenty here to get you started.  But you certainly don’t have to stay within these guidelines if you determine that you want more or less of a certain ingredient, or more than one ingredient from each category. (For example, almond butter and ground flaxseed are both in the “binder” category, but I sometimes include both in my smoothie.)

Also, note that which ingredients you use from one category often dictate how much you need from another.  For example, if you’re using avocado instead of banana as your soft fruit, you’ll need more sweetener than you would with the banana, and you’ll probably want to go light on other fatty ingredients, since avocado provides plenty of good fats.

So be creative, and don’t worry if at first you like more of the sweet ingredients and not so much of the healthier ones. Over time as you eat less and less processed and sugary foods, your tastes will change and you’ll actually crave the healthy stuff.

This is an excerpt from my vegetarian guide to your first marathon, but I’d like to turn this concept into a more comprehensive “database” of smoothie ingredients.  Leave a comment with some of your favorite smoothie ingredients or tips that I haven’t included, and maybe this will turn into something cool!

Agent Saboteur

6 Feb

I was back on track last week. I did struggle with wanting sugar and cravings, but I had my eye on the prize; new habits, real food to nourish my life and a better sense of connection with simplicity.

I wasn’t as hungry
I had more energy
I did CrossFit twice, rode 40

I knew I was going to have some pizza for Superbowl Sunday. I have a non CLEAN / Paleo meal each weekend normally.

Sunday was to be housework/chili cookoff/superbowl.  I had some carrot/parsnip soup for breakfast.  I couldn’t fathom the idea of another smoothie.  Then we had pizza.  Before the cookout.  I didn’t eat much chili.  Just tastings.  But I did eat some cookies.  We went home. IronDude made a spinach salad with chicken and I wasn’t even hungry.  Our niece came over later and wanted ice cream.  I said “I’ll buy” and off she went.  Back with a pint of caramel and I ate every bite of it.  Like a crack addict.

So what did I learn from this?

Sugar IS a lot like alcohol.  I’m not an alcoholic, but I think it produces the same, gotta-have-it, give-it-to-me responses.  Which makes sense because alcohol is also carbohydrate, with a numbing agent.  Sugar does that to me.  It numbs me out.  All my serotonin floods and I am happy, satisfied girl.  I couldn’t have just pizza, had to have the cookies, had to have the ice cream too.

I’m not happy with myself, but I know the kindest thing to do is to pick yourself up and dust yourself off and start again.  So I am living off the land today, eating lightly and regrouping.  I signed up for 3 CrossFit sessions starting tomorrow which always make me feel strong.  Yesterday was the past and it will not take up my present.  Learn and move on.

Sugar for me is emotional.  Yes, that food tasted good, but is it worth it?  No, not in those quantities.  A donut once a week, sure.  A piece of pizza, fine.  But no.  Not all day.  And this is how we do it.  One ugly step turns into two lovely ones.

 

Debbie Forbes, LMT

CrossFitter, Massage Therapist, Rebooter

For more information or to schedule online:

http://www.DebbieForbes.com

http://www.islandmassageonline.com

http://www.blackdogwellness.wordpress.com

Recap, End of January

1 Feb

It’s been a few days while I jump back on the wagon.  I made sure to get back on my CLEAN/Paleo Sunday after our weekend in Orlando and Bern’s festivities.  Sunday was mostly liquids, a bike ride and some pulled pork and veggies.  Monday and Tuesday I was back on track and it feels very good.  I really like that sugar as a treat instead of a major food group.

I have been off the prednisone now for a week and I can tell you it’s the clean eating that’s given me all this energy. I normally wake up between 4:30 to 5am. I am not dragging anymore. I haven’t felt as bloated and I seem to have more energy

There may be a few pieces of pizza on Superbowl Sunday, but I really am morphing into that healthy food cave girl.  Yay me! 

Debbie Forbes, LMT
Massage Chick, CrossFit Kool Aid Drinker, Clean Eater, Cave Girl and Yoga devoTEE

Scope me out at: http://Www.IslandMassageOnline.com, WwwDebbieForbes.com and http://www.blackdogwellness.wordpress.com

I Have Been a VERY Bad Girl….

28 Jan

And I am not kidding.  We went to Emeril’s last night.  And I was a little bit bad during the day.  I’m not just talking about my full on, OMG I must have ALL these things shopping trip at Nordstrom’s Rack.  That was a debacle in itself.

I have eaten carbs, and sugar.  And carbs.  And sugar.  And you wanna know something?

I am over it.

I want to eat Clean.  I really, really do.  I totally feel better.  This is a lifestyle I can live with.  Real food.  What a concept.  I am completely fine with the fact that I fell into a bowl of chocolate, sugar, caramel, peanut butter mousse heaven.  I am just going to have to do that from time to time.  But I just don’t want to do it all the time anymore.

That, my friends – is HUGE.

We are going to Bern’s tonight.  I think I will have a decaf, please.

Amen.